Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2015

This entry is part 2 of 19 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2015

Two eyes peered out at me from the thicket.
I was pruning branches. I was cutting back
abundance entangled in vines.
The vines were slender and outlined in barbs.
Tendrils wrapped a season’s growth
in their complicated embrace.
Which of these are not equally
implicated? The animal watched
then slunk away. I lowered my instrument,
examining the detritus left in its wake.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 3 of 19 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2015

cast by our streetlight imaginations,
then I am not the silhouette made

by bluebird or song sparrow. I am not
the trace of a wing dusted with snow,
nor the spruce and the yew outlined

at the edge of a meadow.
What shadows speak through me,
shimmer with the heat of asphalt.

What shadows parse from the light
bear stench of sewers, salt-spray,
the perfume of jasmine flowers.

Dull pewter, the blades and makeshift
implements pass across the terrible
whetstone: and come out singing.

– with a line from Lawrence Ferlinghetti

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 4 of 19 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2015

I never checked the boxes.
Or I checked them all.

*

Mountain and valley fold.
The creases deep and sharp as blades.

*

I am all my names. And something more.
Perhaps that’s what is meant by Becoming.

*

The sales clerk said, helpfully: Sometimes
the size is different depending on the maker.

*

The lizard sheds the tail
that has been caught in the closing door.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 5 of 19 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2015

Some days I am tired of talk of struggle.
Of the effort it takes, on top of the struggle itself.

Is it really harder to choose, rather, to talk about the minute
clarities etched in the space just between and around my hands?

Long ago, a woman turned my hand over in hers and looked
at the lines etched on the side of my palm.

With a fingernail she traced the life-line
and its many shallow branches down the middle.

Time is a river, we say. Or time is a trail that leads
to that one faraway passage shining like a light in the hills.

And here I will touch the beautiful
splintering wood on the surface of an old table.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 7 of 19 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2015

In which finally the warm cast of sunlight pierces the skin around the heart.

In which we discuss how many cups of water are typically poured for one bath.

In which I try to explain how history is never absent; or how I am still learning not to flinch every time someone says a name which is my name yet not my name.

In which we are called to the jury window but cannot reveal to the person sitting next to us what has just now come over us with sadness.

In which the child walking with his mother down the sidewalk runs to a clump of blooms and excitedly chants yel-low yel-low.

In which the animal behind the wire fence comes up to take the cube of sugar and I want to ask of it my fortune, my not-yet-spent.

In which I measure the space between my thighs and wonder at the hinges in accommodation.

In which, arriving home late afternoons, somewhere in the steps taken between laundry machine and sink and pantry, the body resigns its dreams of rest.

In which I arrive at the conclusion that the word Mother is not a factory or threshing floor, not vessel or raft, not well, not cavity, but something more: I have no name for what is infinitely and always open to the elements.

In which I smooth the sheet and affix my signature.

In which I dust the charred heads of my wooden gods and line them up by the sill, because whatever crouches in so little space must crave any form of expanse.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 8 of 19 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2015

In the middle of a great sea
of people I want to recede
into the flickering of one
cellophane-colored flame.

*

The amber in a faceted glass
throws off light: alternately it sings
of ash and dusk-skinned fruit. What
were you saying again about clarity?

*

When the doors opened, I hailed you
by name. As you turned, the frames
of your glasses snagged random
filaments of neon.

*

Do you have an extra coin? Time
is that period between markers,
is still what ticks between
the increments we’ve paid for.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 9 of 19 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2015

Half a moon in the sky, suspended
as an earring from the tree.

And the mind flies to make a perch
out of meaning—

Meaning choices have been made,
between some idea of ornament

and an idea of loss; between the card
of membership and the polite

rejection. Diplomacy:
the faintly vibrating net

electric in the gap. Or
all that will ever remain unsaid.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.